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Reported armed robberies on Ohio State’s campus lead to public safety notices

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An attempted armed robbery reported on Woody Hayes Drive led to University Police issuing a public safety notice for Ohio State's campus Monday evening. Credit: Daniel Chi / For The Lantern

An attempted armed robbery reported on Woody Hayes Drive led to University Police issuing a public safety notice for Ohio State’s campus Monday evening. Credit: Daniel Chi / For The Lantern

Reports of an attempted and an aggravated armed robbery on Ohio State’s campus have prompted two University Police public safety notices within less than three weeks, leaving one OSU student questioning her safety.

A 27-year-old OSU graduate student was walking home from her office on-campus shortly after 7 p.m. Monday because the bus did not arrive on time. She was on the Olentangy River bridge when a car pulled up beside her trying to grab her attention.

“I stopped and looked at him and said ‘What?’” she said. “And (a man inside the car) point(ed) a gun at me.”

The woman, whose name was removed because of safety concerns, reported being nearly robbed at gunpoint Monday evening on Woody Hayes Drive in an incident that prompted a public safety notice. There were three white men and a white woman in the red GMC SUV, all in their mid-20s, according to the notice.

After the car stopped beside the woman, she said one of the men asked for her backpack, but she refused to give it up.

“I was so panicked I didn’t know what to do, but I refused to give my things,” she said. “I pretended I didn’t know what he want(ed).”

She said she was “praying, praying” for help but no one was in the area. The man cocked the handgun and the woman ran across the road behind the car. The car then drove away, she said.

The incident has left her scared – “It’s supposed to be safe inside this campus area,” she said, “and suddenly this thing happened and I was so shocked.”

University Police Captain Eric Whiteside said Tuesday the details the woman provided have “generated some leads that (officers) are currently investigating.”

The woman said she had her phone and her wallet in her bag when the incident occurred and the University Police report said the property the man reportedly attempted to steal was worth $50.

Investigation into the event is ongoing.

Whiteside said University Police is coordinating with other “surrounding agencies” to see if they have had any “similar encounter(s) in their jurisdiction,” but was unable to provide more details because the investigation is ongoing.

One of the most telling details, Whiteside said, was the “description of a red handgun, that is something that is unusual.”

The safety notice was issued approximately two hours after the incident reportedly occurred Monday and occurred more than two weeks after an armed aggravated robbery was reported at Ohio Union Parking Garage South Aug. 7.

On the Aug. 7 event, it was reported a black male in his mid-20s allegedly robbed a male non-affiliate of $25 in cash while armed with a handgun at about 11:50 a.m.

A public safety notice was issued about the event that day, stating the incident occurred on the High Street side ofSullivant Hall, which University Police Chief Paul Denton said in an email Tuesday was because the notice was issued before the victim had clarified the location to be the parking garage.

Investigation into that event is pending, according to the University Police log.

The victim involved in the Aug. 7 incident declined to comment on the incident.

The graduate student involved in the Aug. 26 incident said she was glad University Police sent out a notice about what reportedly happened to her.

“I want everyone to be aware of it, the situation that’s happening, for everybody’s safety,” she said. “Everybody should know that there’s a risk and you shouldn’t walk alone.”

In an earlier version of this story, Capt. Eric Whiteside was referred to as “Whitesaid.” In fact, his last name is Whiteside.

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